Saving Money, the easy way
I came across an article that gave 50 ideas on how to save money by making small changes. I am going to copy and paste the ideas that I think we will be able to do!
3. Close closet doors to lower the square footage you're heating (and cooling). Shuttering closets along exterior walls also helps to insulate the house.
Cost: Zilch—although it may take a few minutes for your clothes to reach room temperature before you put them on.
Savings: About $50 per year off your energy bills.Bonus: You and your guests won't see closet clutter.
Holy shit... that makes total sense, but I never thought about it!!
5 . Sign up for your utility's time-of-use plan. Many regional power suppliers offer rebates for reducing electricity consumption during periods of peak demand.
Cost: Washing clothes and dishes at night during nonpeak hours, and turning the thermostat up or down a couple of degrees during a cold snap (or heat wave).
Savings: $25 to $50 per month on your energy bills, depending on the season.
Bonus: You're easing the strain on the power grid—and lowering the odds of a blackout.
** I remember having this in Phoenix, but I checked on Austin Energy's website and I couldn't find a plan like this. I plan on calling and talking to them about it.. I'll keep you posted**
6. Make your own cleaning solutions using inexpensive kitchen staples, such as white vinegar and baking soda. See The Green Guide for recipes.
Cost: A few bucks in extra pantry supplies.Savings: $50 or more per year on commercial cleaners.
Bonus: Cleaners that don't contain harsh chemicals are healthier for your household.
I'm all for this... as long as I don't blow myself up from mixing the wrong chemicals together :o)
11. Use your microwave instead of your range; it consumes half the power.
Cost: $15 for the Microwave Gourmet cookbook at Amazon.com.
Savings: $40 or more per year on electricity or gas.Bonus: Having dinner ready in a fraction of the time.
I'm hesitant to use this a lot, but I can see using the microwave to heat up left overs or water for tea instead of the stove top.
13. Insulate hot-water lines. Preformed foam tubes fit right around the pipes, thanks to a slit along their length.
Cost: 29 cents to 35 cents per foot of insulation, depending on pipe dimensions, at Energy Federation.
Savings: $50 per year on energy.Bonus: Halving the wait for hot water to reach upstairs faucets.
17. Set your computer to sleep—not just the monitor, but the hard drive, too—so that it automatically dims after 10 minutes of nonuse.
Cost: It may doze off when you don't want it to and you'll have to punch a key to wake it up.
Savings: $75 per year off your electric bills.Bonus: Like people, screens and hard drives age more gracefully with plenty of rest.
18. Wait to replace your grill, lawn mower, or patio furniture until the fall, when stores mark down their inventory to make room for holiday decorations and snowblowers.
Cost: Making do with what you have this summer.
Savings: $150 or more per item.Bonus: Retailers—especially online ones, such as Target—often provide free shipping on leftover warm-weather gear.
29. Plug in a SmartStrip. Three-quarters of the energy that electronics burn is consumed when the equipment is turned off. Rather than unplug items after every use, hook them up to a SmartStrip surge protector, which automatically kills power to electronics when you turn them off and returns it when you switch them back on.
Cost: $31 for a seven-outlet strip at SmartHomeUSA.com.
Savings: As much as $240 per year in energy costs.Bonus: Two always-hot outlets ensure that slow-to-reboot devices like your digital cable box can be left on all the time.
42. Get free mulch and compost at your town's yard-waste recycling center.Cost: $30 for pickup truck rental.
Savings: $300 for all the amendments you'll need to fortify and cover your raised beds and foundation plantings, per ¼ acre.
Bonus: Unlike bagged products from the home center, compost comes from leaves collected by your neighbors and the mulch from town tree pruning, so there's little risk of introducing non-native pests or weeds.
For those of you in Round Rock, I know there is a place off of 620 that will let you drop off any tree branches/clippings that you need to get rid of (for FREE) and they will let you scoop up as much mulch that you want. All you have to do is bring your water bill. For those of you in Austin, find somebody in Round Rock and borrow their water bill.
Original Article: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,20250928,00.html